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items tagged with Cheryl Hines

Child Labor: “Orphan” and “The Ugly Truth”
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2009-07-27 15:37:15

Peter Sarsgaard, Isabelle Fuhrman, and Vera Farmiga in OrphanORPHAN

Director Jaume Collet-Serra's Orphan features that most indestructible and, oftentimes, luridly enjoyable of horror-flick staples - the psychopathic prepubescent - and would probably be a lot of fun if it wasn't so relentlessly unpleasant and stupid. Those of us who've been known to get a kick out of these Omen-esque outings will probably give the movie the benefit of the doubt for far longer than it deserves. But for all of its effective jolts and expert acting, Orphan is so frustratingly illogical that it trashes whatever goodwill you extend toward it, and the experience is too unremittingly dour and punishing to be any kind of not-so-guilty pleasure. (One of the friends I saw the film with left the auditorium saying, "I need a shower now." Get in line, pal.)


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Mike’s Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2008
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2008-05-01 11:06:16

The AlpsThe Alps (not rated) - The people have chosen, and the people chose good. Last fall's winner of the Putnam Museum's "Everyone's a Critic" series - which follows climber John Harlin's attempts to scale the north face of the Eiger mountain, where his father perished in 1966 - is such a breathtaking spectacle that watching it makes you a little dizzy; not from the Eiger's treacherous inclines and precipitous drops, which are (enjoyably) vertigo-inducing enough, but from the dazzling visual rush provided by director Steve Judson and his remarkable team of camera operators. Judson re-creates Harlin's ascent with jaw-dropping skill - you'll fight the urge to blurt out "How on earth did they film that?!" repeatedly during The Alps' 45-minute running length - and he and his crew photograph the Swiss mountain ranges with crystalline perfection; I'm not sure any movie has ever looked better in IMAX format. When the film turns to matters of geology and the historic make-up of the mountains, things get a little stodgy, but you're quickly returned to the awe-inspiring vistas, an unexpectedly touching human element courtesy of Harlin and his understandably worried wife and daughter, and, believe it or not, a series of marvelously employed Queen tunes that - in this format, at least - suggest what the elevator ride to heaven would sound like.


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Mike's Online-Only Movie Reviews - 2007
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2007-10-30 00:41:02

Eduardo Verastegui and Tammy Blanchard in BellaBella (PG-13) - Alejandro Monteverde's drama, which concerns the friendship between a chef and a newly pregnant, newly unemployed waitress, received the People's Choice Award at the 2006 Toronto Film Festival. Um... who are these "people," exactly? Space people? Because I can see how Bella might be confused with a great movie if you didn't understand a word of human conversation. Even then, of course, you might still be put off by the film's bizarre editing (with flash-forwards routinely, meaninglessly interrupting scenes-in-progress) and lackluster photography; Montevrede shows more interest in food than in his stars. And then there's that baffling ending, which seems to set the film up for a sequel - one that fills in that massive "Huh?!?" of a climactic plot hole. But it's still the mawkish, maudlin screenplay that does it in; Eduardo Verástegui (looking uncannily like Jim Caviezel as Christ) and Tammy Blanchard (as ever, looking uncannily like Judy Garland) are stuck with unplayable dialogue and baldly written characters, and the movie shamelessly plies on the merely-functional supporting stereotypes. The movie is pro-life and pro-family with a vengeance, which might account for its (limited) popular success. I just wish it were also a little pro-brain, and a lot anti-cliché.


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Brush with Greatness: "Art School Confidential," "Poseidon," "An American Haunting," "Akeelah & the Bee," "Hoot," and "RV"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2006-05-17 08:25:35

John Malkovich and Max Minghella in Art School ConfidentialART SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL

I’ve read critics who have described Terry Zwigoff’s Art School Confidential as nihilistic, sour, and mean-spirited. They’re saying it like that’s a bad thing. Working with screenwriter Daniel Clowes – adapting the film from his comic book, and again collaborating with the director who helmed 2001’s Clowes-scripted Ghost World – Zwigoff has, here, fashioned a wonderfully nihilistic, sour, and mean-spirited comedy; it might take easy potshots at the politics and posturings of the art community, but those potshots are funny and clever, and the film’s refusal to sentimentalize any of its characters (even our protagonist) is incredibly refreshing. Still, the movie has been met with much dissatisfaction, if not outright annoyance. Art School Confidential seems, to me, the most thoroughly misunderstood movie of the year.


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Bothered and Bewildered by "Bewitched": Also, "George A. Romero's Land of the Dead" and "Herbie Fully Loaded"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2005-06-29 00:00:00

Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman in BewitchedBEWITCHED

As needless films versions of “classic” ’60s TV series go, Nora Ephron’s Bewitched is even worse than endeavors such as I, Spy and The Beverly Hillbillies, because this one actually seemed promising.


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